5 Things Your Boss Wishes You Knew About Entrepreneurship

If you work for an entrepreneurial company, chances are you’ve heard all the reasons your boss began their journey.  And it’s even more likely that a lot of those reasons may sound cliché, such as: 

“I had a vision…” 

“I wanted to pursue my passion/goal/dream”

“It’s a 24/7 endeavor

While all those reasons are true, they’re also quite common and a bit intuitive as to why an entrepreneur puts themselves through what they do to succeed.  But if you are already involved in an entrepreneurial company or are thinking about striking out on your own as an entrepreneur, first take some time to consider reality.

Bucking the Trend

One reason your boss may want to let you in on things you didn’t know about entrepreneurship is that it’s hard…really hard.  Statistics show that the success rate for new businesses can be brutal.  20% fail right out of the gate within the first two years.  Another 45% fail by the time the first five years have passed.  And a staggering 65% don’t make it to the ten-year mark.  In fact, only 25% of new businesses can celebrate 15 years or more in business.  

Many factors are involved in why businesses fail.  These include:

  • Lack of focus

  • Lack of cash or cash flow problems

  • Burn out

  • Better products from competitors

  • Failure to pivot or pivoting too late

5 Things Your Boss Wish You Knew

While those reasons are daunting, the entrepreneurial spirit has lived on.  And despite these commonly known facts and the equally sobering statistics, there are more complex and deeper things your boss wishes they could impart to you as well.  Here are 5 things your boss wishes you knew about entrepreneurship that may help hedge your bet against those statistics.

  1. Provide Market Solutions – History is riddled with bad products that went nowhere.  What many people don’t realize is that it is also littered with good products and great ideas that have no market.  In fact, 42% of all startups fail because the product or service doesn’t provide a market solution.  It may be the product itself or it could be the business model, pricing, or some other factor.  But the best entrepreneurs are the ones that find a solution for a problem or one that fills a gap in an existing market.

  2. Fail and Fail Quickly – The concept of failing to move forward may seem counterintuitive.  But failure among entrepreneurs has proven to be a catalyst for learning, improving and succeeding with new directions.  The secret is in the speed of failure.  If you must fail, fail quickly so you can learn the lessons, adapt your strategy or product and try again.  It requires that entrepreneurs develop discernment for what works and what doesn’t.  Those failures that take too long can sap strength and cash and bring you misery.  If a failure is taking too long to unfold, beware the sunk cost fallacy (of both cash and brain power).  Stop what isn’t working and start over.

  3. Make Smart and Calculated Steps – While there are always flamboyant and go-for-broke owners out there, the best entrepreneurs are very analytical.  They proceed in a logical and disciplined set of small steps, pausing along the way to assess each step and correct their course if needed.  This keeps the emotion out of the equation and for the formation of logical thinking.  It also prevents impulsive behavior that can result in a major setback or even be a death blow for a young company.

  4. Build Great Teams – Even visionary entrepreneurs don’t go it alone.  Many have tried and the result is burnout or a creeping business model overwrought with micromanagement.  Studies have shown that 29% of failed startups could point to having the wrong team in place as the primary reason they failed.  This includes the right mix of skills as well as those who share your vision.  But it also means finding the right blend of personalities with those skills that can critique professionally and provide counterbalance as well.  

  5. Learn from Mistakes – This is different than falling quickly.  Everyone makes mistakes and left unattended or unlearned they can lead to failure.  But mistakes can help provide a deeper understanding of why something didn’t work.  They can also trigger process improvement, product improvement and improvement of business models and team dynamics.  

Being an entrepreneur is not a guarantee of success.  But knowing these core values can help mitigate the reasons others fail.  One way to gain knowledge and insight into these values is to align yourself with a mentor or with training and resources that can help educate and nurture your entrepreneurial path.  The Henry Bernick Entrepreneur Centre (HBEC) at Georgian helps provide training, networking and connections, funding and mentorship for businesses and individuals wanting to follow an entrepreneurial path.  Contact HBEC to find out how you can start that journey.

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